Riflescopes by Price Class
By Chuck Hawks
The proliferation of brands, lines, and models in the riflescope business has made it increasingly difficult to classify scope manufacturers. Once upon a time it was easy to summarize by saying that Zeiss made Ultra Deluxe (5-Star) scopes, Leupold and Redfield competed in the Deluxe (4-Star) class, Weaver dominated the Medium (3-Star) field and Bushnell sold in the low (2-star) price class; but not any more. All of these brands now sell in more than one price class and, for example, some Bushnell scope lines are considerably more expensive than some Leupold scope lines. Nor are similar levels of quality and features strictly confined to the same price class.
I have compiled the following list based on the manufacturers suggested retail price (taken from various sources) of variable power scopes in the best selling 3-9x40mm size (or whatever is closest to it in a given line). Obviously, in every line, a 6-18x50mm scope is going to cost more than a 3-9x40mm and a 4x30mm fixed power scope is going to be cheaper than a 3-9x40mm. Note that within each price class, brands are listed in alphabetical order.
This list does not attempt to include every manufacturer or line in the market place, but it does cover most of the major brands and lines. Those left out can be compared to those included and their approximate price class determined on that basis. I cannot even guarantee that this list is 100% accurate, because prices change frequently and actual retail prices are seldom the same as the MSRP, but at least it offers a starting point for the riflescope shopper. I will periodically update this list so that it remains reasonably current.
For a list of riflescopes by brand and line that are recommended by the Guns and Shooting Online staff and management, see the companion article "Recommended Riflescopes."
Premium price class (MSRP over $1100)
High price class (MSRP $600-$1099)
Bushnell Elite 6500
Medium-high price class (MSRP $400-$599)
Bushnell Elite, Bone Collector
Medium price class (MSRP $300-$399)
Burris Fullfield E1, C4
Medium-low price class (MSRP $200-$299)
BSA Gold Star 2
Low price class (MSRP $125-$199)
Economy price class (MSRP under $125)
Copyright 2003, 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.